Mike Sparken

Mike Sparken

16/6/1930

Poberejsky was a wealthy amateur Ferrari racer who raced under the name of Mike Spaken. He was most successful racing in North Africa.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">Mike Sparken was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris. A wealthy Ferrari sports car driver, his real name was Michael Poberejsky.

His name appears on countless F1 driver lists on the basis of his single Grand Prix appearance in 1955. Some add that the name hid the identity of Frenchman Michel Pobrejsky, a fact now widely known due to the boom in worldwide data communication of the past few years, but for a long time before that a mystery to all but his closest friends.

Mike Sparken was more than a one-hit Grand Prix driver however, as he had been well-known in international sportscar-racing circles for some time.

Born in Paris of eastern European emigré parents, Michel Poberejsky came to note in minor national events in the country of his birth in 1952, winning a touring-car race at Montlhéry with an Aston Martin DB2.

He repeated that effort the following year and also contested the 12hr Hyéres sportscar race and made two racing trips to North Africa. In the second of these, partnered by works driver Roy Salvadori, he won the 3-litre class of the Casablanca 12hrs, finishing in fourth place overall.

By then the Aston Martin had been highly modified and in 1954, running with a DB3S engine and special bodywork, ‘Mike Sparken’ took more placings in races in France and North Africa. He was due to race at Le Mans that year but arrived too late for his Maserati 250S to pass scrutineering. Unfortunately the Aston was written off in a road accident.

The following year, now armed with a brand new Ferrari 750 Monza, he opened his account with three victories in a row, at Agadir, Oulton Park and Goodwood, though a post-race penalty in the last of these events demoted him to second. He was leading the Hyéres 12hr race when the car failed, and then suffered another retirement at Le Mans when a piston broke before his partner Masten Gregory got to drive.

Then came his Grand Prix début at the wheel of the works Gordini in the British Grand Prix at Aintree in 1955 after which, although still only 25, he retired from racing.

He kept up his interest however, and in the 1980s he owned the ex-Lord Doane Alfa 8C2900B coupe which he eventually traded to the Alfa museum in exchange for a 158 GP car. This was a sleek straight-eight Italian beauty, which debuted in 1938, won nearly every race it entered. This was the only Alfa Romeo 158 in private hands.

David McKinney

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